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Accused not at scene of armed robbery - lawyers

Last updated 05:00 10/10/2012

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Two men accused of tying up and robbing an elderly Upper Hutt couple to steal thousands in cash were never at the scene, their lawyers have said.

Jeremy Brian Gorinski, 34 and Dinesh Kumar Manoharan, 36, are each charged with the aggravated robbery of Malcolm and Yvonne Wiffen on June 19 last year and have pleaded not guilty.

The Crown said they broke into the Wiffens' Silverstream home, held guns to their heads, demanded money and gold, got into their safe and left the couple tied up on their living-room floor with pillowcases over their heads. They left with between $50,000 and $70,000.

Christopher Stevenson, for Manoharan, said yesterday there was no evidence that his client was at the house. He was not seen until several days later when he was arrested with Gorinski in a Coast Road house in Wainuiomata.

“He was not seen with spectacularly large sums of cash. He had $30 in his wallet when the police arrested him,” Mr Stevenson told a jury in Wellington District Court. He was also not caught with any property from the Wiffens' house.

Mr Stevenson said a DNA profile taken from a tie used to bind the Wiffens was unsafe to use and the Crown had conceded the profile could be shared with many other people.

Keith Jefferies, for Gorinski, said the scientific evidence against his client was flawed.

A footprint showing a wear pattern like one of Gorinski's shoes had not been eliminated as being from any of the 10 other people who had come through the Wiffens' home.

There was a mystery to be solved about who might have broken into the home and police never investigated others it could have been.

Gorinski was in Palmerston North at the time of the robbery and instead was the receiver of some stolen items, such as a ring he was caught wearing, he said.

Crown prosecutor Sally Carter told the jury that when all the bits of evidence were taken together, it was too much of a coincidence that the robbers were someone other than Gorinski and Manoharan.

Judge Bruce Davidson told the jury it must have been extremely frightening to have armed men in the home but they must put all sympathy aside and decide with their head and not their heart. They had to be sure that the two men were those who had robbed the Wiffens.

The Crown case was circumstantial, he said, as no one had seen the two men, and jurors had to make logical and reasonable conclusions from the evidence.

The jury began deliberating yesterday afternoon and will continue today.

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- The Dominion Post

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